Behind the Mic: Who Wins 50?

So the two #1 seeds in their respective conferences will ACTUALLY meet in the 50th Super Bowl championship.  One team (Carolina) scored more points than any other this year and the other (Denver) got up the least amount of yardage.  As I write this, Carolina is favored by 4.5 points.  I will attempt to analyze the two teams and pick a winner.

DEFENSE
“You win championships with defense.”  How many times have we heard analysts tell us that?  If, indeed, that is the case, it would still be very hard to choose a winner based on that adage.  Both teams have outstanding defenses (maybe that’s why they are in the Super Bowl).  Carolina’s defense has been particularly tough on quarterbacks.  They are the best team in the NFL for creating the lowest opponent passer rating.  They certainly made life miserable for Cardinals’ quarterback, Carson Palmer.  And linebacker David Newton, who broke his arm in the Cardinals’ game, is expected to play after having surgery this past Monday.

The Denver defense, however, has stopped almost every team and had little trouble stopping Tom Brady and the PatriotsVon Miller is an awesome player.  The Broncos were first in the league in total yards allowed and had 20 quarterback hits last week.  I would think that the diversity of the Carolina offensive attack would be a bigger challenge than Denver faced against the Patriots.

ADVANTAGE:  CAROLINA

OFFENSE
QB’s – Cam Newton (Carolina) vs. Peyton Manning (Denver) – wow!  Talk about contrasting styles.  Newton never seems to feel the pressure of the moment and always looks like he is just having fun.  Manning, on the other hand, is like a scientist in his lab studying and dissecting.  Newton has the stronger arm; Manning has won this game, has the experience and the knowledge of many years in the league.

Receivers – Greg Olsen and Ted Ginn, Jr. (Carolina) vs. Damaryius Thomas and Emanuel Sanders (Denver).  I like Carolina here because of their defensive secondary and Greg Olsen is not unlike the Patriot’s Rob Gonkowski.

Running Backs – Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert (Carolina) vs. C J Anderson and Ronnie Hillman.  Both teams give up very little rushing yardage, but with Cam Newton as a running weapon, Carolina should be a bit harder to defend.  Both teams, however, give up @ 80 yards per game on the ground.  Running the ball (except by Newton) might be a non-factor.

ADVANTAGE:  CAROLINA

INTANGIBLES

  • Peyton’s last game?  This would certainly give the emotional edge to Denver.
  • Turnovers?  Carolina has a +20 turnover differential compared to Denver’s -4.
  • Carolina’s cockiness? This could serve them well on such a big stage or derail them if things do not go well early in the game.
  • Extra points ARE important – Just ask the Patriots; they chased that one point the whole game.

ADVANTAGE – DENVER

THE PICK
This is a really tough choice (as it should be).  On paper I like the Carolina Panthers; but I do think the emotional edge goes to Denver.

THE WINNER OF SUPER BOWL 50:
CAROLINA PANTHERS  24 – 17

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME SUPER BOWL  MUSINGS)

        1. If Carolina wins, Cam Newton would become the only player to win the Heisman, a national NCAA championship, NFL MVP and a Super Bowl.
        2. If Denver wins, Peyton Manning would be the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two teams. He won at Indianapolis.
        3. The Browns, Lions, Jaguars and Texans are the only teams that have not played in a Super Bowl.
        4. A 30-second ad this year will cost $5 million, 11% higher than last year. 4 million people tuned in last year.
        5. If you like to gamble, the odds before the season started that the Broncos would face the Panthers in the Super Bowl were 184-1!

NFL PICKS LAST WEEK – 10-6; OVERALL 160-96 (63%)
NFL PICKS (WILD CARD) – 3-1
NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS – 3-1; PLAYOFFS (6-2)
NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS – 1-1; PLAYOFFS (7-3)

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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